Borrowers will have to wait for lower lending rates

According to HDFC chairman Deepak Parekh, lending rates would ease only after deposit rates come down, which will take some time to happen. The statement comes at a time when most people hoped that banks would start lowering their lending rates, following the recent repo cut by the Reserve Bank of India (RBI).

Welcoming the liquidity infusion steps taken by the central bank, Mr Parekh said, “RBI has taken all possible steps to infuse liquidity and in the past 10 days. This will help the growth of the economy as well.”

He added that cash conditions were comfortable at the moment, and that he didn’t expect any further moves in the upcoming half-yearly monetary policy. “We might have to wait for the next credit policy for further moves,” said Mr Parekh, speaking on the sidelines of a conference on Tuesday.

He indicated that the central bank had taken a number of liquidity-infusing steps in the past two weeks, including cutting the repo rate by a percentage point and slashing cash reserve requirements for banks by 250 basis points. Though he refused to comment on interest rates with respect to HDFC, Mr Parekh added, “Lending rates can not come down unless deposit rates come down. At present, deposit rates across banks are pretty high.” He also said that real estate sales had come down.

Real estate sales are dull at the moment. Prices need to come down for sales to rise again,” he added. Mr Parekh added that he saw the economy growing at 7% this year. “Though it is considerably below projections of 9%, it is still a strong rate of growth for any country,” he added.